Sri Lanka (LK)
The legal basis of intellectual property protection in Sri Lanka is the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003.
Sri Lanka is not a member of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration. Protection is afforded to well known marks in Sri Lanka under certain conditions.
Nice classification, 9th edition
A mark may consist of a word, a symbol, a device, letters, numerals, a name, surname or geographical name, a combination or arrangement of colors and shapes of goods or containers etc. The visible sign must always be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of different enterprises (it must be distinctive).
There is no express provision in the Act providing for the registration of pure sound marks (audible only) and pure smell marks.
The following trademark types are registrable: trade marks, service marks, collective marks and certification marks.
The application is filed at the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka (NIPO).
Multiple-class applications are not possible.
Foreign applicants do not need a local agent. A postal address for service is sufficient.
Where the application is filed through an agent, it shall be accompanied by a power of attorney granted to such agent by the applicant. In practice, the National Intellectual Property Office will not accept an application for registration from a foreign entity without an appointment of agent form.
Foreign applicants do not need a registration in the home country of the foreign applicant.
The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior similar marks
The processing time from first filing to registration is approx. 8 years (dependent on the class).
Before registration, the trademark is published in a Government Gazette.
The opposition period is 3 months from the date of publication of the application in the Government Gazette.
Opposition against designation of IR Mark
(The period starts from the national publication date, if not stated differently):
not a member of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the filing date of the application. The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
If the trademark has not been used for a period of 5 years prior to an application being made to a Court for an order directing the removal of the trademark from the register of trademarks on the grounds of non-use, any person can apply to Court for such an order of removal of the trademark.
The official trademark application fee is SLR 3,360.00 (approx. EUR 21.00). The publication fee depends on the size the advertisement; SLR 2,500.00 to SLR 6,500.00 (approx. EUR 16.00 to 41.00). The registration fee is SLR 1,120.00 (approx. EUR 7,00).
Trademark Licence Agreement
A licence to use a trade-mark has to be granted in writing. It is permitted to license the use of unregistered trademarks, but it is not possible to record such a licence in the Register of Trademarks. A licence contract can be concluded for all or some of the goods or services in respect of which the mark is registered. The sale of a registered trademark does not automatically terminate the licence but this may be provided for in the licence agreement. There are statutory provisions prescribing the terms of licensing with regard to quality control.
There are provisions in law for the voluntary recordal of a licensee with the Trademark Office. There is no time frame for a recordal and there is no prescribed form for a licence agreement. In addition to the licence agreement, an appointment of agent form, authorising a local agent to file the application to have the licence contract recorded at the National Intellectual Property Office is required.
A licence becomes effective and enforceable against third parties when recorded in the Trademark Register. It is not required to be published.
There is no evidentiary presumption that use by a recorded licensee is permitted use. The licensee can join the proprietor in infringement proceedings. A registered user can also call upon the trademark owner to institute infringement proceedings. If the proprietor refuses or neglects to do so, the registered user can institute proceedings in his own name after three months. The registered user must cite the proprietor as co-defendant in any such proceedings.
If royalties are payable abroad and the Director General of the Sri Lankan Intellectual Property Office is of the opinion that this may be detrimental to the economic development of Sri Lanka, he may submit the licence to the Governor of the Central Bank for a decision whether the licence contract should be cancelled or not.
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We would like to thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided:
John Wilson Partners, Colombo, Sri Lanka
John Wilson Partners, Colombo, Sri Lanka